Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post It beats the alternative

Monday October 15, 2007

My response last week to Dink NeSmith’s opinion piece was visited and discussed more than anything I’ve written in some time. I appreciate all who had something to say on the subject whether or not you agreed with me. The tone and passion in the initial column as well as the responses and discussion that has taken place since tells us that the program is close to a tipping point.

As I sat in Vanderbilt Stadium on Saturday night at halftime, I wasn’t thinking much about the second half. Instead I was starting to get a picture of the Georgia fan base after a second straight loss to Vanderbilt, and it wasn’t a pleasant picture. NeSmith’s column would have seemed like a love letter compared with two weeks of bloodletting following a loss in that game.

That scant three-point win over a good-but-not-that-good Vanderbilt team meant a lot of things, but most importantly it saved the fan base from completely going off the deep end. Last year’s loss to Vanderbilt was a shock to the system. A consecutive loss to the Commodores on the heels of another decisive loss to Tennessee might have been the point of no return for the strong base of support enjoyed by Mark Richt.

By no means should the win be taken as a sign that all is well or back to normal. Problems persist on both sides of the ball, depth at key positions like linebacker and tailback has taken several hits, and the schedule gets no easier. I don’t want to make a big deal over a win against Vanderbilt, but the second half performance of the team does say a little something about their pride. The "here we go again" panic could have certainly taken hold in the locker room at halftime; I can assure you that it was present in the stands. Granting that even the second half comeback had its shaky moments, I give them plenty of credit for not packing it in and making enough plays to get the win without which the program probably couldn’t have survived.

The win served as a temporary levee against a torrent of public opinion that would have swept over the program had they lost. With a bye week ahead, we’ll see what the coaching staff can do to make that barrier stronger. With a very tough stretch coming up against three of the top 20 BCS teams, the job ahead must seem like re-engineering New Orleans.

A bye week at this point in the season provides a chance to rest and recharge for the team and the fans. It also provides some time for introspection, and we’ll see no shortage of state-of-the-Dawgs stuff over the next week. At least with a win that introspection might be a little more level-headed and a little less emotional than it surely would have been after a loss.

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